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Prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of porcine O157 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli from India


The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains in pigs as a possible STEC reservoir in India as well as to characterize the STEC strains and to determine the antimicrobial resistance pattern of the strains. A total of 782 E. coli isolates from clinically healthy (n = 473) and diarrhoeic piglets (309) belonging to major pig-producing states of India were screened by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the presence of virulence genes characteristic for STEC, that is, Shiga toxin-producing gene(s) (stx1, stx2), intimin (eae), enterohemolysin (hlyA) and STEC autoagglutinating adhesin (Saa). Overall STEC were detected in 113 (14.4 %) piglets, and the prevalence of E. coli O157 and non-O157 STEC were 4 (0.5 %) and 109 (13.9 %), respectively. None of the O157 STEC isolates carried gene encoding for H7 antigen (fliCh7). The various combinations of virulence genes present in the strains studied were stx1 in 4.6 %, stx1 in combination with stx2 gene in 5.1 %, stx1 in combination with stx2 and ehxA in 0.6 %, stx1 in combination with stx2 and eae in 0.2 % and stx2 alone in 3.7 %. All STEC isolates were found negative for STEC autoagglutinating adhesin (Saa). The number of STEC isolates which showed resistance to antimicrobials such as ampicillin, tetracycline, streptomycin, lincomycin, nalidixic acid, sulfadiazine, penicillin, gentamicin, kanamycin and ceftriaxone were 100, 99, 98, 97, 95, 94, 92, 88, 85 and 85, respectively. Ninety-seven isolates showed resistance to more than 2 antimicrobials, and 8 resistance groups (R1 to R8) were observed. This study demonstrates that pigs in India harbour both O157 and non-O157 STEC, and this may pose serious public health problems in future.

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The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to research, authorship and publication of this article.

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Correspondence to Swaraj Rajkhowa.

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Rajkhowa, S., Sarma, D.K. Prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of porcine O157 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli from India. Trop Anim Health Prod 46, 931–937 (2014).

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  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Characterization
  • STEC
  • Pigs